These amazing soft golden pretzels make an excellent snack for a game day gathering or party, and they're easy to prepare and bake. The alkaline mixture of boiling water and baking soda creates the rich brown exterior over the relatively short baking time, leaving the center of the pretzel soft and bread-like.
Serve the pretzels with your favorite whole grain or gourmet mustard, or serve with a mustard dip or plain yellow mustard. This Mustard Barbecue Sauce would make a fabulous dip as well.
The pictured soft pretzels were topped with flaky sea salt (fleur de sel). The stiff dough was kneaded with a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, but feel free to knead by hand.
- Combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let the mixture stand for about 15 minutes, or until slightly foamy.
- Stir in the olive oil, the 3 1/2 cups of flour, and the salt. Using the dough hook, knead on medium-low speed for about 10 minutes. The dough will be stiff, but add small amounts of water, about 1/2 teaspoon at a time, if necessary.
- Gather the dough up into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Turn the dough to coat thoroughly with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Just before the dough is finished rising, fill a large, deep pan with the water (a large Dutch oven or deep 4- to 6-quart saute pan work well). Stir in the baking soda. Bring to a boil.
- Heat the oven to 450°.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten slightly. Cut into 12 uniform pieces, roughly 2 to 2 1/4 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope about 18 to 20 inches in length. Grasping both ends, bring them up slightly and towards each other, forming an oval, then cross one end over the other. Press the ends together at the bottom of the oval shape, forming a pretzel. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
- Place the pretzels on the parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Carefully drop three pretzels into the boiling water; boil for 45 seconds, turning once with a large slotted spoon.
- Carefully remove them from the water and place them back on the parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
- Sprinkle each pretzel with a small amount of coarse salt.
- Bake the pretzels for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the are a rich golden brown, rotating the pan about halfway through the baking time.